Friday, October 16, 2009

The Secret Life of Wasps - Part One

So it has been hard to try and sum up some of the events that have transpired since the middle of August. Some good, fun milestones and some hard and sad ones as well.
I have gone back and forth as to whether I want to share this or not. But in the end I decided I should right it down.

This blog is for me and for you. I document things that you won’t remember, and I let go of things I need to process.

These last few months have been big. This whole year has been big, but after your first birthday, things just seemed to start happening.

It all started with a sickness. It has been one of my biggest fears since bringing you home that I would get sick. So sick that I would not be able to take care of you. It finally happened and I was the sickest I have been in years. Sadly, being sick in this household these days is a double edged sword. Not only was I plagued with a stomach virus, but I was saddled with great worries of spreading germs to not only you but your Daddy. Luckily, it did not last long and no one else seemed to get it.

Then the sickness spread, it wasn’t the same sickness but it was sickness all the same. You were listless with fever, the highest fever you have ever had in your life.(100) It was so scary to see you fall asleep in my arms at 6PM. I thought it has to be teething because it was fairly low grade and I thought for sure you were working on your molars. But overnight the fever got worse and continued on through the next day. When the third day came around I decided we better get to the doctor before the weekend comes. And what came after clearly marked one of the worst days of my life.

The doctor had a few theories on you just having a fever and no other symptoms. They said your throat was a little raw so they did a Strep culture-negative. He suggested that it was a good possibility that you might have a urinary tract infection. He said it is common for young girls to get them, and to not have any pain, only fever. The only problem is to diagnose it you need a urine sample. And the only way to get a sterile urine sample from a young toddler girl is to put a catheter in.

My sweet baby girl, I want you to know that I did not make that decision lightly. I looked down at you so ravaged by sickness that I knew I needed to help you. If I decided against it, I took the possibility of you getting worse and a trip to the ER over the weekend, or I could try to do what I thought was the right thing. It was so horrible. Having to hold you down, when you felt your worst, and subject you to something I can’t even describe. And when it was all over, you just cried and hugged me so tightly. There was such sadness in the way you held my body. Such a maturity in the way your head hit my chest. Even the doctor stopped and realized the weight of what we had just done. When we got home, it was then that it really hit me. I felt sick to my stomach and could barely get off the couch. I was so traumatized that my body was physically acting out even though my mind could not comprehend what we had just went through.

It wasn’t until the next day, when I went to change your diaper and you wouldn’t relax your legs and you held them so tightly against your body, that I realized that your body was physically acting out against the trauma you had experienced. I want to tell you now that I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I acted on what I thought I should do as a worrying mom and not what I felt was right. It is my job to protect you and I feel in this way I failed. When we found out a couple of days later that you actually had roseola and NOT a urinary tract infection I was devastated.

Motherhood is filled with so many uncertainties and worry, infinite worry.

When my Mom, your Grandma V was raising me it seemed like there was so much less information available to her generation. These days the internet makes it possible to look up any thing and come up with a billion different “solutions” and “answers”. These days we are so overloaded with information that it becomes anxiety inducing. There are too many choices and opinions for us to consider that it makes it hard to make an informed decision when everyone has the “right” way of doing things.

Point is, at the end of the day everyone does the best they can. I want you to know that I don’t know what the future holds for us yet, but I promise to do the best that I can do.

And I hope that it will be enough.
Enough for you to forgive me.
Enough for me to forgive myself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Then Labor Day Came and Went

If this had to happen, I am almost glad it happened now. She most likely will not remember these days. She was not traumatized by seeing Daddy sick. She doesn’t know what’s going on, “It’s okay keep it together,” I said in my head.

I held her hand and as the elevator door opened to the hospital floor she exclaimed “Da Da!”

And my stomach lurched into my throat.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Come on Get Higher

So I got the best birthday present ever yesterday and that was spending the day with you. We had a great celebration at Grandma V's house and on the way home we were listening to music when Matt Nathanson's "Come on Get Higher" came on.

I love this song and last year it was my favorite song and we would dance to it in those early months of your life. Your Dad teases me incessantly about how it is so NOT a mother/daughter song and doesn't understand why I like it so much. One day when you read this and you are old enough to listen to it I know you will side with your father so I am writing this down now before I am too senile to defend myself.

It is the memory the song gives of that specific time in my life that makes me like it so much. Not so much the song itself. It makes me think of you because it was just the two of us dancing in the dining room - you trying to figure this living on the outside business and me trying to figure out how I lived my life without you.
Trying to stay in the moment and not think about how I would have to leave you to go back to work all too soon.

Despite all of the other lyrics in the song, the only phrase that sticks in my head is the one at the very end where he says "everything works in your arms" I will always be learning how to be a mom, and you will always be trying to teach me and test me around every corner.

But when I just stop and hold you, it just all makes sense.

Love you big, Little. Love you big.


Monday, August 10, 2009


The last few months for me have really been about letting go.
First with you crawling and especially now with you walking,
I find myself having to hold myself back.

To keep me from hindering you in your exploration of the world.
As a mother I find I have so many more fears since you were born.
And everyday I am constantly amazed at your fearlessness in taking on new things.

I hold myself back, because I don't want my fear instilled in you.
I hold myself back so you can continue to take the world on your terms,
completely fearless.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

After a Brief Hiatus

The elephant is officially back on the
"Things that make me sob uncontrollably"

That is all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Looking Forward

He said" She is acting more and more like a little kid and less like a baby."

He is right.

" We only have this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand... and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late."
- Marie Beyon Ray

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Happy Mask Was Never Your Best Disguise

The open road

Is scary and intense

Thought I could swallow it

Soon it will swallow me

I hide behind the camera lens

So they can’t see

It hurts to be different

And longing is ugly

So I focus on the good

Tiny moments in life

In hopes that one day

Those tiny moments

Will find their way

Back to me.

I wrote this in 2006 over Thanksgiving weekend. I was wrestling with a swell of feelings that ranged from anger to sadness to jealousy. Every time I would leave a family gathering I would feel so empty, so conflicted. I loved my family(ies), but it was hard watching everyone else's families growing around me while ours was only expanding with members of the four-legged persuasion. It was very hard not to harbor feelings of resentment or bitterness, and I didn't really know anyone that could relate or understand what that felt like; so much of those feelings got bottled up.

I love taking pictures, but sometimes, especially at family gatherings it felt like a way to hide, a distraction of sorts. So that when I was in the thick of it, I wouldn't let those feelings hurt someone I loved unintentionally. It is hard when you want something so much that is so hard for you to come by when others seem to be able to have it effortlessly.

And today, today is such a special day. Today is your birthday, your anniversary of your big debut into the world. We had your party early on Sunday so your Grandma T and Grandpa M could attend. And as we all watched you dig into your kitty cat cake, I took a look around at the circle of family and friends and was overcome with love. And as I froze frame after frame of your chocolate cake escapade, I saw how everyone around you could not help but be joyful. A year ago when they placed you in my arms -at 11:32 PM I finally knew, this is what it feels like - to have a child, to be a Mommy, after all this time. And when you looked at me all I could think was, "Welcome to the Club."

The Open Road is no longer a desolate place but a journey waiting to be taken.
Happy Birthday Baby Girl - you make my heart explode.



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stay in the Moment

I have always been the kind of person who always dreams of someday. I have also always been the kind of person who is too nostalgic and will reflect on times gone by. It has always been very hard for me to stay in the moment as it is happening.
I think that is why I love photography so much is that it forces me to be completely enveloped in the moment. The only problem is that I am only passively active in the moment, I see it, I am capturing it, but I am behind the lens.

The times that I do notice that I am in the moment, I try to pay strict attention because I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something...

Stay in the Moment....

Stay in the Moment...

It goes faster than you think

Don't let these moments pass you by.

I am trying to stay in the moment with you.



Monday, June 29, 2009

Make a wish

As the days of your infancy are dwindling down, I watch in awe as the baby that just one year ago was kicking inside me practically run across the room . I don't know why but the knowledge of your journey to becoming a toddler has been especially emotional one for me. This means a whole year has elapsed. A year of so many changes and milestones. Your age will now be in years, no longer weeks or months. A whole year without you inside me. I try and remember the way it felt being pregnant. A lot changes in the passing of a year and my mind has forgotten many things. I place my hand to my stomach and find it hard to remember what it felt like to have you inside. July 3 - that was my due date. That was the day you were due to make your debut in the world. One year ago today - July 3 that was my last day at work.

I remember that last day at work, your due date. I remember packing my stuff up for the day and it was then that it really hit me. The next time I walked through these doors I would be a mother, this is the last time I would be able to take you to work with me. This was the last time we would share secret moments at my desk, in meetings, with you kicking inside me. Tapping on my belly from the inside. From now on - you would be out in the world for all to see, for all to know, for all to feel. It wouldn't be "Just us" any longer.
As I drove off I was overcome with tears, I could not control it. I was full on sobbing. Life as I knew it would never be the same, my dreams were finally about to come true.

For three years I prayed for you across barren months.

I dreamed of you with waking sadness.

I wished for you on birthday candles.

Baby girl, wishes do come true.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Up Here

All you need is love

All you need is love

All you need is love


Love is all you need.

" You know it makes my heart beat, you know I'm happy up here."
- Royksopp

Any man can father a child, but only the love of a daddy would make a man shave his beard in hopes for a kiss from his sweet baby girl.

Happy Fathers Day, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You will not remember this day

Dear Kayla,

The last six weeks have been the most stressful, life altering fast paced weeks of my life. I haven't even had a chance to sit down and record all of the things that have happened. These last six weeks have felt like six years.
At the end of April your Daddy had a kidney transplant. Your Uncle Randy agreed to undergo testing to see if he was a match earlier this year and like the unbeleiveable hero he is donated his kidney to your Daddy. Thanks to him you will never have to know what it is like to have a Daddy that is unable to play with you because he doesn't have the energy. Who is unable to eat dinner with you because he has no appetite, to have no Daddy at all. I don't want this to turn into a depressing post, I am not dwelling on all the negative things that could have been. No this post will be a celebration, not just because our lives have a new beginning with your Daddy's transplant but because today I found perspective.
I read several "Mommy" blogs and today I stumbled upon a blog about a little girl named Madeline. Madeline was born 11 weeks premature and faced several health issues because of it. On April 8, 2009 this little girl passed away and her mommy continues to blog about her legacy and reflects on their short time together.
Tears fall as I write this my precious girl - At 11 months this week you don't sleep through the night, and after weeks of a very trying emotional rollercoaster, there are times when I lose my patience with you. As I read websites and books on how most babies are sleeping through the night, as I complain about how you can walk but you can't sleep through the night - this story put everything in perspective. As your first birthday is now less than a month away I reflect about how I felt at this time last year, heavily swollen with you inside me, barely enough room for the both of us. I would wonder what my life would be with you outside of me. My heart would race with the excitement and the terror of finally becoming a parent. Today my heart leaps into my throat to stop and think about what my life would be without you. I don't know who I am without you Kayla Raye. Even though our journey to have you was a long one, and I swore it would never happen, there are days I take you for granted. Days when I am checking my email, working on pictures instead of down on the floor playing with you - making you giggle.
You will not remember this day. Today I resolve to be the Mommy you deserve. Today I stop looking to books and websites for advice and follow my own heart. Today I realize you will sleep through the night in your own time, I will give you all I have. Because I am so lucky to have these moments, they will be fleeting as you continue to grow away from me outside of me. Today is all about now, this moment, this day. Nothing is worth more than this day because I have you.
And baby makes three - our family is complete.
**To all the Mommies that have to face life with empty arms and cribs - Thank you for the strength to share your stories. They are touching and impacting lives.**

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Do you wanna see me crawl across the floor?

Yay! April 17, 2009 you did just that. Now we can't keep you out of anything. And much to Daddy's chagrin, one of your favorite things is to pull out Wii game selections from the entertainment center. I know he doesn't understand that you are just trying to show him there are other games besides Super Mario Brothers, you will learn later in life that Daddy isn't so open to suggestions. : )
Even though you are now capable of crawling, you still like to let it be known that you would still prefer to walk. Now if we could just figure out this whole balance thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Baby Fresh Snow

Snow Suit!, originally uploaded by kellywoolen.

Hopefully we don't forget this song. The first time it snowed, I stayed home with you. You were in your vibey seat and we were watching the snow fall down and we(I) sang "baby's first snow Oh! Oh! Baby's first Snow!" Well we had to change the snow after teh second snow because wasn't your first snow anymore. Daddy cleverly added a drum line to the song and we changed the lyrics to "baby fresh snow" and we sang it every time it snowed.
Here you are enjoying the blizzard of 2009. We weren't sure you were going to be able to use the snowsuit. And frankly when is it a good time to take a baby out in a snowsuit? We had to carry you because you couldn't sit up in it. You toppled right over.
The good news? You were super cute in it. The bad news? You got zipped up in it and you got a cut under your chin. We felt horrible. But we got some cute pictures out of the excursion. I just felt our "Parents of the Year" award being yanked out of our hands.
Love Mums

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I will not eat the pie

You are NOT a picky child. The first time Daddy and I placed you in your bumbo seat for your first taste of rice cereal, we weren't sure you were ready for solids. But there you were unable to hold yourself upright yet, still no full control over your arms, but you could open your mouth wide and snap down on that spoon.
In fact your facination with food started long before your first taste of that white gruel. We weren't sure when it was exactly, but somehow the novelty of endlessly staring at Tweety's face had worn off when we weren't looking and you took to watching us eat intently from down in your vibrating chair.
when I mentioned this to the pediatrician at your four month appolintment they quickly brushed it off as a child's curiousity in the world around you. "She doesn't understand what you are doing, and just because she watches you eat doesn't mean she is hungry or ready for solid foods."
But you understood what the spoon was for and you snapped your mouth down around it hands held out behind you striking like a cobra for your gruel. When you turned six months we rejoiced as we took you to the store and picked out an assortment of foods. A world of pureed fruits and veggies that well basically tasted like a step above the gruel. You love the meal time and open your mouth eagerly and willingly. You cry when we get your little plastic bowl out, knowing what is coming and knowing that it isn't coming fast enough.
when you were eight months I broke down, and gave you cheerios. I was unsure if this was something you were ready to handle, but I figured "Heck the girls got eight teeth so why not?" YOU LOVED IT! You love putting your hands on your tray and feeling those little O's scatter across the plastic. You love the way they feel in your tight clenched little fists as you try and figure out how to get them out of there!
Then last week our good eating bliss suddenly comes to a screeching halt when suddenly the spoon is met with a flying fist and the sweet potato/gruel combo goes flying to the floor. I chock it up to bad timing on my part and head back in with a second spoon full which is met with your arms in a big X over your face!! You will only eat cheerios and will not even take a bite of what was one of your favorite foods just last week.
At lunch - same story except this time I brought out the big guns - PEAS WITH BROWN RICE - YOUR FAVORITE!!! And once again I am met with the defiant arms. Peas Shmeas. You will only eat the cheerios on your tray. So I get a thought, I quickly go to the kitchen and cook up some apple pieces and put them on your tray. To my suprise/chagrin you pick them up and put them in your mouth. I place some cheese on your tray and low and behold you will eat that too. The only thing you will not eat is BABY FOOD!!
Girl, why are you growing up so fast?!?!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pressure..Pushing Down on You

After my last post, I feel like I fully jinxed the situation. A couple of days after your silent night you started tugging at your ears, I took you to the doctor today. Turns out you are suffering from fluid in your ears, turns out there is no fix to drain it. You make faces of suprise from the pressure you feel in your ears, and it doesn't take much for your world to quickly come crashing down. (Like me taking the dixie cup the doctor gave you to play with out of your mouth so you don't choke -OH THE HORROR!!THANKS DOC!) In the eight and a half months of your life it seems like there has always been some challenge you have been faced with - teething, colds, fluid in the ears... with each new challenge I think we have turned the corner, I am done guessing,there is no corner in sight. Hang in there baby girl, this too shall pass.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

After the Fall

So after a couple of months have passed, I decided that I would write about the Mommy mishap I had. When I was pregnant I had this grandiose idea of what I would be like as a mom. That I would be some sort of Mother Teresa type completely transformed by you emerging from my womb.
Sadly, that transformation was not as I hoped it would be. I find myself making more mistakes than I thought I would and the event that transpired a couple of months ago was no exception.
It was a Thursday and I am lucky enough to work from home on Thursdays so I can spend time with you. I decided that we would go for a walk with the dog. It was a little chilly so rather than let you sit in the stoller, I decided to put you in your carseat that hooks on to the stoller. BUT the stroller that you carseat hooks on to happens to be in your fathers car, so I opt for the stroller that Grandma has let us borrow. (forshadowing...DUN DUN DUUUUUN)
We commence on our walk and everything seems right in the world. I am so lucky to have a dog that stays close to the stroller and a baby who had just woken up from a three hour nap, making me very productive working at home. I was on cloud nine feeling so proud of myself, like I was Super Mommy. I had it all under control. Here we are enjoying a happy afternoon stroll. We head down the small hill to the walking path that is behind our townhome complex and suddenly at the bottom of the hill the wheels on the stroller turn the wrong way and hit a bump lurching the stroller forward.
Suddenly, right before my eyes I see your car seat just flip out over the front bar of the stroller right on to the ground. I think to myself "that didn't just happen!" I look over to the side of the stroller and there you are in your carseat but it is UPSIDE FREAKIN DOWN ON THE GROUND! You aren't making any noise either, all I can say over and over again is " Oh my God, oh my god." I turn the carseat over bracing myself for the worst scenario and there you are with grass on your face and you just start screaming. Disregarding every ounce of common sense without checking you for injuries I rip you from that carseat faster than I ever have in my whole life and pull you in close. Now we are both sobbing, and I am frantically looking around to see if anyone saw me just dump my firstborn face first onto the ground. (nice huh?) There isn't a soul in sight, and Kaiya is completely oblivious to the incident that just ocurred as she continues to sniff the ground for a good place to potty. NOW is the time that I stop and pull you back so I can take a good look at you to see if you have suffered any injuries, and aside from tears and a few blades of grass on your face, there appears to be none. But now here we are at the bottom of this hill, loose dog, carseat on the ground, baby in arms and stroller on the sidewalk. How am I going to get back to the house? How am I going to tell your father that I DUMPED YOU OUT ON THE GROUND?!!?? WHAT JUST HAPPENED HERE? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO SUPER MOMMY??
I was able to get you calmed down and put you in stroller and carried the carseat and dragged the dog all the way home. The whole way home I continued to cry, I had a horrible nauseating feeling - how could I have just put my baby in such danger? I couldn't get that image of you in you upside down in your carseat out of my mind. When we finally got home, I was still convinced although you weren't crying that you were most likely hurt and that I should call the doctor. As I was looking for the phone you were smiling at me and ready to play. I kept checking your pupils sure that at any random second they were going to dilate and you had suffered a closed head injury. As I began to dial the number to the doctor's office wild thoughts of social services started racing through my head, I was sure that this whole incident would launch an investigation because A SMILING BABY WATCHING ME DIALING THE PHONE MEANS THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING WRONG!!! I imagined the doctor's office receptionist picking up and saying " She fell out of WHAT? PLEASE HOLD!" as they hit the red social services button under the scheduling desk and abig red siren sounds. So instead I decide to call your father, sobbing, and as I was relaying the horrible story you were cooing and laughing in the background. He came home immediately, and well to wrap up this drama you survived with just a scare and a couple of grass blades on your face. (And no social services did not come...this time**)
Now the reason I am telling you this, is one day when you are a mom you will make mistakes. After this incident, not only did I accidentally pinch your hand in your high chair, but also zipped your neck into your snowsuit. But it was all in the name of love. On a serious note, I just want to show you that parents are people. I know we are still relatively at the beginning of your journey, and we don't know how badly we are screwing you up yet. But it is harder to admit that you can't be perfect and that you do make mistakes. And hopefully my baby girl, when you are old enough to read this, that you will be able to forgive me for mistakes that I have and will make in the future. I hope you will be able to realize that every parent does they best they can. And I vow to do the best I can for you.



**I write "this time", because they still could at some later date, you are only 11 months after all.**

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Easy Silence You Create For Me

It has been a rough couple of nights. You get up and cry hysterically for an hour for no reason. You have eight teeth, your father and I suspect that this may be it for a while. Actually, it is more of a wish. After two nights of trip after trip to your bedside, I awoke this morning to your cries only to find that it was no longer night but morning!!!
Now this isn't the first time that you have done this, which says to me that you are fully capable of sleeping through the night. (Totally dispelling my "sleeping through the night is a myth" theory) I just want to know how do we make this happen again? It seems lightning does strike twice at our house, but just not in the same week!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sometimes I just want it to slow down

You have been in my life offically for eight months. I say "officially" because I count the moment you were concieved as the real moment you entered my life, however they don't put that date on the birth certificate. I can't count the times people have told me, "it goes by so fast" but now I really know what that means.
Before becoming a parent, I can truly say I never knew what it was like to really put myself out there. Now that there is this beautiful girl out in the world that is partly me, I have never felt more vulnerable; or alive. I am not discounting every experience that I have had up to this moment, just realizing my own mortality. Not only have I made a mark on the world, now suddenly the world has made it's mark on me. I am out there..really out there. You are the heart on my sleeve.
The nine month journey to bring you to this outside world was filled with happiness and anticipation. I can't believe the child that grew within me, is growing so fast away from me, outside of me. Some mornings I feel like I can still feel you inside me, kicking with anticipation to join the world outside. And then I realize it is you...sleeping next to me kicking for more room STILL.
Eight months, eight teeth, I just want to capture things as I can remember. So I won't forget this journey.
Love, Mums